Man nearly electrocuted cutting tree meets paramedics who saved his life

TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — A Troup County man who was nearly electrocuted met the paramedics who saved his life Thursday.

Channel 2's Berndt Petersen was live in LaGrange where he witnessed the reunion.

The paramedics and their ambulance were staged in a drugstore parking lot when 911 dispatch radioed them. They got to accident victim Mike Pilgrim in under four minutes.

Pilgrim said it was a day he doesn't really remember but can never forget.

"I wanted to be OK and live. That's the only thing I really remember," Pilgrim said.

On June 25, he was helping a friend cut down a large tree outside a home in LaGrange. When he tossed a steel cable over a branch, it hit an electric transformer.

"I think I was in shock myself for a minute. I didn't know what to do," Pilgrim’s wife, Tonya, said.

A few minutes later, an ambulance from American Medical Response in Troup County arrived. Pilgrim wasn't breathing and had no pulse.


He was all but gone, but with CPR and a defibrillator, paramedic Tim Willey and EMT Retosha McKenzie brought him back.

"It seems strange that a person can get electrocuted and the answer to fixing it is more electrocution," Willey said.

Pilgrim was later flown by helicopter to a hospital in Atlanta.

Before Thursday, Pilgrim had never formally met the people who saved his life. He was grateful to be here to do it.

"It's good to meet them and see them. I guess I can call them my brother and sister," Pilgrim said.

Paramedics also credited a bystander who started CPR before they arrived.

Pilgrim also suffered serious burns to his hand and lost a couple of toes, but he's grateful to be alive.